Some 500 years ago, God reformed His church on earth in a major way through the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther and others. The various events over more than 50 years one half-millennium ago and half-a-world away arguably affected every religious tradition existing today.
God had worked reformations before, and He has worked reformations since. Church father Augustine of Hippo reportedly said Ecclesia semper reformanda est, which can be translated as “The church always must be reformed.” Such reforming is not a shaping of the church into something else but a restoring of the church to what she should be: the one holy catholic (that is, “universal”) or Christian Church, confessed as an article of faith in the Nicene Creed.
At the time of Luther, the Roman Catholic church obscured the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man, given in the pure preaching of God’s Word and the right administration of the Sacraments, namely Holy Baptism, individual Holy Absolution, and the Sacrament of the Altar. God worked through Luther and others then to restore the Gospel and Sacraments, and God works through people today to keep them pure and right and at the forefront of His church.
In the weeks to come, our communities have several opportunities to commemorate the 500th anniversary of what is regarded as the start of the Reformation. On Sunday, October 29, there is a Fourth-annual Symposium in Kilgore, themed “The Reformation at 500 Years”, from 3-5 p.m. in the Devall Student Center Ballroom on the Kilgore College Campus. On Monday, October 30th, there will be a free dinner and showing and discussion of the recent documentary Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World starting at 6 p.m. at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore (713 Florey Street). And, on Tuesday, October 31st, there will be a German-themed dinner at 5:30 p.m. and a Reformation Day Divine Service at 7 p.m. both at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Longview (1300 Judson Road). All are invited to and welcome at all of these events!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.